A few minutes ago, Francis Tse mailed a preliminary version of the Xerox device software update to me. In a conference call with Rick Dastin, Francis Tse and others, and I installed the update on a WorkCentre 7545 and tested my test pages again.
The results seem nice so far: I was not able to see any mangled numbers on the scans of my test pages (of course, this is no guarantee at all, as I am not an image processing specialist – however, it is a lot better than before, where I was able to spot mangled numbers within seconds on every test page).
Some rough technicals: The patch completely eliminates pattern matching in all compression modes. This is more or less what I suggested within and after my first conference call with Rick Dastin and Francis Tse. In my opinion, this is the right thing to do with respect to the legal value of scanned documents. Of course, slightly greater files are produced, but even with low resolution and the strongest compression (“normal”) no numbers should be mangled any more. By applying low resolution scans and the strongest compression, you will get a crappy document look though – but at least you know the crappy numbers stem from the place on the original you expect. One can also see slight differences across similar-valued digits, as one would expect without pattern matching.
Of course, I'm curious how things go on. Rick Dastin said that there might be hundreds of thousands devices affected. For this reason, Xerox will perform further tests, until the update will be rolled out to the public.
Edit: They also updated their press statement. Seen the sheet of paper the guy on the photo holds in his hand anywhere before?
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